SPEND LOCAL! New county campaign to urge you to keep your money close to home

November 23rd, 2020 at 5:53 pm Posted in Businesses, Coronavirus, White Center news | No Comments »

Your dollars matter most when they are spent with truly local businesses. King County is reminding everyone about that, with this announcement:

King County Executive Dow Constantine kicked off a new social media campaign to encourage people to discover offerings from arts organizations, gyms, restaurants, and retailers as the region embraces new public health instructions. This effort follows the successful awarding of financial and technical assistance to hundreds of King County businesses.

As King County follows statewide temporary restrictions on public gatherings, Executive Constantine encouraged residents to patronize local businesses.

The “Keep it local King County” social media campaign launched today comes on the heels of $4 million in grants and technical assistance that was awarded to approximately 630 small businesses in unincorporated King County.Keep_It_Local_KC_Logo_FINAL

Businesses included restaurants, bakeries, spas, retailers, contractors, auto repair shops, farms, and others.

The last grants are expected to be awarded by the end of the year.

“The grant definitely helped me,” said Yulonda Rhodes of Texture Salon Studio in White Center. “Prior to COVID, I was in process of doing some remodeling. Then COVID happened, I got laid off from my part-time job, and this business slowed down. The grant allowed to get everything I needed to get done. It definitely helped.”

Many businesses around the region have changed operations to keep their employees and customers safe, and are open for business.

The “Keep it local King County” campaign seeks to highlight available offerings, and stress the importance of spending dollars locally.

“Keep it local King County” will promote different options each day of the week:

Monday: Memberships
The Executive’s Office will emphasize the importance of continuing or purchasing memberships in regional arts and cultural organizations.

Tuesday: Takeout
Restaurants are open and ready to serve. Executive Constantine: “Let the take-out box be a symbol of our resilience.”

Wednesday: Workouts
Even though in-door activities in gyms are currently not allowed, many offer on-line yoga and other services. In these stressful times, it is more important than ever to keep mentally healthy by being physically fit.

Thursday: Give thanks
For those who are able to work from home and maintain a steady income, remember to thank essential workers by leaving a little something extra as a tip, or a thank-you card.

Friday: Fun with family and friends
Even with heightened restrictions, there is plenty to do, such as farmers markets. It is also important to make sure residents know how to use video-communications apps.

Saturday: Shop safe
It is safe to patronize businesses in our neighborhoods and downtown, as long as we follow simple guidelines. Now is the time to show the love to local merchants.

“While I am heartened that so many have done so much to help us respond to this unprecedented crisis, I also appreciate the burden on and anxiety felt by many restaurants, retailers, arts organizations and their employees,” said Executive Constantine.

“I am thankful we were able to get financial help to hundreds of small businesses, but we must do more. I urge everyone to patronize restaurants, coffee shops, and other local favorites. As I have said before: If this pandemic is symbolized by the medical mask, let our resilience be represented by the take-out box. Our ‘Keep it local campaign’ over the next few weeks will highlight all that you can do to help our local economy, and enrich your health and well-being.”

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TONIGHT: Q&A with your state legislators, county councilmember

November 18th, 2020 at 2:37 pm Posted in Politics, White Center news | 1 Comment »

6 pm tonight online (Wednesday, November 18th), State Sen. Joe Nguyen hosts a Town Hall Q&A opportunity that will also include this area’s two other state legislators, Reps. Eileen Cody and Joe Fitzgibbon, as well as County Councilmember Joe McDermott (and West Seattle/South Park City Councilmember Lisa Herbold). The link for viewing/participating is here (passcode 921647).

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Free COVID-19 testing Tuesday in White Center

November 16th, 2020 at 11:23 pm Posted in Coronavirus, Greenbridge, Health, White Center news | 1 Comment »

From the inbox:

Neighborcare Health, in coordination with King County Housing Authority, Somali Health Board, and Neighborhood House, is providing free COVID-19 testing Tuesday, 11/17 from 12-4 pm at Greenbridge Main Plaza, 9839 Eighth Ave SW:

*Walk-up only. No appointment needed.

*Everyone is eligible for testing.

*Safe, quick, and painless. Test swab only goes part way in nose.

*Each individual will be registered upon arrival so we can process the test and follow-up with test results.

At registration, you will provide your name, date of birth, phone number, and insurance information (if you have it). Testing is FREE for everyone. We will bill your insurance if you have it. If you do not have insurance you will not be charged.

Questions: Call Neighborcare CAT Team at 206-333-2524,

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HOLIDAY GIVING: Help local firefighters’ donation drive

November 15th, 2020 at 9:11 pm Posted in Holidays, How to Help, White Center news | No Comments »

If you can help – local firefighters who serve North Highline and Burien are looking for assistance in this year’s donation drive:

Whatever you can give, District 2 will use to buy food to donate to the 25 families it’s helping this season.

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ONLINE THURSDAY: North Highline Fire District commissioners’ special meeting

November 11th, 2020 at 10:07 pm Posted in North Highline Fire District, Online, White Center news | No Comments »

Happening online tomorrow (Thursday, November 12th), a special meeting of the North Highline Fire District commissioners:

The Board of Commissioners of North Highline Fire District will hold a special meeting at 5:00 PM on Thursday, November 12th, 2020 via teleconference due to COVID-19. The GoToMeeting link is accessible on the North Highline website at: www.northhighlinefd.org [left side of the page].

The purpose of the meeting is to: (1) discuss the 2021 operating budget and the reason for the hearing is to meet the requirements of RCW 84.55.120 and RCW 52.18.060. We will not set the levy or establish a budget at this meeting, but the purpose is to inform the public and consider any comments that the residents of the district may have with reference to revenues or to any proposed tax increases. (2) To review and discuss the 2021 Fire Benefit Charge. (3) To review and discuss Resolution 507

The benefit-charge proposition got 84 percent approval in this month’s election, with 87 percent turnout of voters in the district.

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Newest plan for Subarea Plan @ North Highline Unincorporated Area Council’s November meeting

November 10th, 2020 at 10:22 pm Posted in King County, North Highline UAC, White Center news | 2 Comments »

By Tracy Record
White Center Now editor

The reinvention/relaunch of King County planning for this area headlined the November meeting of the North Highline Unincorporated Area Council.

NORTH HIGHLINE SUBAREA PLAN UPDATE: David Goodman from the King County Department of Local Services made a repeat appearance. For context, he shared a demographic snapshot of North Highline compared to King County as a whole, and a few trends:

“The relative affordability of White Center has decreased quite a bit,” Goodman observed. He also showed a snapshot of recent developments – “not a tidal wave of development, but some pretty significant” additions.

And he explained Opportunity Zones, which cover two census tracts in the area:

There’s no requirement to disclose when a project is being funded as part of this program, Goodman noted.

Updating the Subarea Plan process, he said its scope has been expanded beyond its original land-use focus:

The work already done on the land-use plan will be incorporated into “this new structure,” Goodman promised. The Community Needs List that’ll be built will help shape what goes into the next county budget, he added. Here’s the type of topics they hope to hear about:

In the nine months of outreach done before the planning process was “paused” in March, here’s some of what Goodman said they heard a lot about;

“The book is still open on all these things,” he stressed. Here’s the timeline over the next year and a half:

They already have some ideas for the Community Needs List:

NHUAC’s Barbara Dobkin asked for more information about the Opportunity Zone – whether construction that happens in it results in tax-exempt properties. Short answer, no, said Goodman. NHUAC’s Liz Giba suggested that the countywide permit process needs to be “tightened up.” Impact fees should be reconsidered to help consistently fund sidewalks and schools, for example. She also wanted to see an “opportunity analysis” and more green space – additional pocket parks “in places where there are decrepit buildings right now,” for starters.

Traffic calming is badly needed, too, said Dobkin, with speeding problems on east-west arterials.

King County Sheriff’s Deputy Bill Kennamer said mandatory trash pickup should be considered – it’s optional in the unincorporated area but not in cities, he noted.

Goodman also said they’ve heard a lot of interest in smaller commercial spaces – “It’s a little tricky to find a way to make that happen, but it’s one thing we’re thinking about a lot.” They’re trying to “think of some creative ways to incentivize” this, realizing that landlords might be more inherently comfortable with large established tenants. Giba noted that small businesses are more popular than large corporate ones, and recalled large buildings’ commercial pasts, such as the DSHS building on 15th having been a grocery store. She also wondered if anything’s being done about the West Seattle Bridge detour traffic’s effects on White Center; Goodman said he has a regular call with Seattle city planners and is talking with them about some engagement in White Center. Deputy Kennamer says this is affecting streets all the way down to 116th. He also noted he’s getting a radar gun soon and plans to “run traffic” on 26th, 28th, 106th, 107th, and 112th.

His regular update was next up at the meeting:

DEPUTY KENNAMER: He said he can’t book people into jail right now for trespassing or theft, He also noted that staffing remains low and not likely to change. He said everyone arrested in the shooting behind the Smoke Shop pleaded guilty recently. He mentioned that people keep breaking into the house next to the burned-down Yarington’s Funeral Home site, where there was a fire recently.

A discussion of graffiti vandalism broke out from there; Kennamer said the murals have been the most-effective tool used against it, but also observed that there is not a big problem with gang graffiti locally, just tagging.

Regarding property crimes, Kennamer said auto theft’s up, residential burglaries are down.

CREDIT UNION STRATEGIC PLANNING: The meeting began with a presentation about grant opportunities through the Community Development Financial Institution Fund.

Speaker Rick Thomas said they’re working with Express Credit Union to help people in the area with financial opportunities, through a grant program.

He said the program could even lead to an ATM or part-time presence in the community for Express, which has had a program going in Othello and hopes to replicate that success in White Center.

COMMUNITY ANNOUNCEMENTS: White Center Kiwanis is selling nuts as they do every year – text Scott at 206-465-8432 if you’re interested.

NEXT MEETING: The next first Thursday is December 2nd – watch here and nhuac.org for updates.

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WHITE CENTER BIZNOTES: Bizzarro Italian Café; Bloom Bistro; Boombox

November 9th, 2020 at 6:26 pm Posted in Beverages, Restaurants, White Center news | 4 Comments »

Three White Center food-and-drink notes, and they all begin with B:

(WCN photo)

BIZZARRO ITALIAN CAFE: Thanks to Chris for the tip. This Wallingford restaurant is expanding to White Center, taking over the ex-Noble Barton space at 9635 16th SW. The announcement didn’t have a projected opening date, but we have a message out to ask. (Here’s the Bizzarro menu.) ADDED TUESDAY: Bizzarro responded to our inquiry:

Yes, Bizzarro Italian Cafe is coming to White Center and we could not be more excited. We have been serving the good people of Wallingford since 1986 and have been pining to come south for quite a while. Hopefully we will start delivery and take-out for our fresh made pasta dishes by the end of November and come spring time, after we add some comfort and funkiness to the space, we should start opening up for dine-in. Ultimately, Bizzarro is a neighborhood joint and White Center is a vibrant and exciting Neighborhood to be a part of. We want to create a space that is comfortable for families to celebrate in, first dates to occur, or just a place to swing by and grab some great food in a relaxed setting. People have been asking if our menu will be the same. Yes, Elk Bolognese, The Forest Floor Frenzy and all the favorites are coming with us. Plus some new special offerings in the bar to share.

BLOOM BISTRO: While checking on the future Bizzarro, we noticed the sign for Bloom Bistro was down at 9602 16th SW. They’ve indeed permanently closed after just 3 1/2 months in business, announcing:

Unfortunately, the time has come for our little dream to end. … We are not backed by a large corporation, trust fund or big GoFundMe project and between the global pandemic, which doesn’t seem to be getting better, the situation with our electrical box being tampered with and not being able to collect any insurance money for the incident, and having to close for a week due to poisonous chemicals in the air, the odds were stacked against us being successful. We are just two girls with a passion for fresh food and a love for this community and unfortunately, things were just not busy enough to maintain paying the bills. We have so much love and appreciation for every single one of our customers, farmers, butchers, coffee roasters, friends, family, and supporters. This truly breaks our hearts.

BOOMBOX BAR: A few doors down, a new incarnation is on the way for the ex-Swallow space at 9608 16th SW – Boombox Bar. No details yet – we’ll update when we get them!

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ELECTION 2020: Fire & school districts’ ballot measures approved

November 3rd, 2020 at 10:30 pm Posted in Election, White Center news | 1 Comment »

Local voters answered the call for local districts asking for funding help. In tonight’s first-and-only election-results release from King County, the North Highline Fire District “benefit charge” was approved overwhelmingly, 85 percent yes, 15 percent no. And a big win for the Highline Public Schools tech levy – 74 percent yes, 26 percent no. The other local ballot measure we’re watching closely, King County Charter Amendment 5, is passing with 57 percent approval, so that means the KC Sheriff will go back to being an appointed job, after current elected Sheriff Mitzi Johanknecht‘s term runs out.

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ELECTION DAY: Time’s running out to drop off your ballot

November 3rd, 2020 at 5:16 pm Posted in Election, White Center news | Comments Off on ELECTION DAY: Time’s running out to drop off your ballot

Procrastinating on voting? You have until 8 pm to get your ballot in, if you use a King County Elections drop box. KCE staff is standing by at the boxes in these final hours, including the White Center Library (1409 SW 107th) and the Boulevard Park Library (12015 Roseberg Ave. S.). Don’t use the USPS mail unless you’re sure it’s going to be postmarked today (some Post Offices are open until 6 and you can ask that it be hand-canceled). King County’s one-and-only first-night results report is expected around 8:15 pm; we’ll break out the local ballot measures of note, including the North Highline Fire District benefit charge, the Highline Public Schools tech levy, and the King County charter amendments related to the Sheriff’s Office.

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THURSDAY: North Highline Unincorporated Area Council’s November meeting, online

November 3rd, 2020 at 8:59 am Posted in North Highline UAC, Online, White Center news | Comments Off on THURSDAY: North Highline Unincorporated Area Council’s November meeting, online

However the elections turn out, local advocacy carries on, and your next chance to be part of it is at 7 pm this Thursday, online. The announcement from the North Highline Unincorporated Area Council:

The Opportunity to Be Informed, Be Involved and Be Heard!

North Highline Unincorporated Area Council Meeting
When: Thursday, November 5, 2020 at 7 pm
How: Join Zoom Meeting
Meeting ID: 943 1011 0478
Passcode: NHUAC2020!

Unable to join via Zoom?
Please Call: (+1) 253-215-8782
Meeting ID: 943 1011 0478
Passcode: 7581259731

We did it! NHUAC’s October meeting was different in its format, but still full of important information. Now that we have our first Zoom meeting under our belt, we want to assure you that you can still be an informed and involved community member despite COVID-19. Although Zoom allows more accessibility, it is not your only option. You can call in, too. Our North Highline community is worth the effort!

Have you applied for a loan lately or know someone who relies on payday lenders in times of need? Have you heard of Community Development Financial Institutions or CDFIs? They go back to the 1970s and the Community Reinvestment Act. The CRA was needed because of the lack of access to responsible and affordable credit and capital in low-income communities. Does North Highline need access to a CDFI? Rick Thomas of Credit Union Strategic Planning will join us to discuss this important topic.

David Goodman of King County will update us and gather our feedback on the evolving North Highline Subarea Plan. The plan will guide development in North Highline over the next 20 years. According to the county’s vision statement: “North Highline is a diverse, inclusive, and family-friendly community that supports a thriving small business community, enjoys proximity to urban amenities and green space, and provides opportunities for people of all socioeconomic backgrounds to live, work, and thrive.” The big question is: How do we get there from here?

NHUAC is always happy to see White Center Storefront Deputy Bill Kennamer, who will update us once again about police activity in our community.

Knowledge is power. Learn, share, and help make North Highline a better place.

November 5, 2020 at 7 pm – Tell a Neighbor!

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Leftover uncarved pumpkin(s)? Here’s what to do

November 3rd, 2020 at 12:33 am Posted in Businesses, How to Help, White Center news | Comments Off on Leftover uncarved pumpkin(s)? Here’s what to do

From Good Day Donuts at 9823 15th SW:

We are happily collecting whole, uncarved pumpkins at Good Day Donuts from now until Sunday, Nov. 15th.

Help us gather lots of pumpkins for the pigs at Heartwood Haven Farm Sanctuary. Did you know pigs love to nosh on pumpkin??

Drop yours off at GDD 9 am-1 pm Thursdays-Sundays.

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HALLOWEEN: Safer trick-or-treating

October 31st, 2020 at 7:42 pm Posted in Holidays, White Center news | Comments Off on HALLOWEEN: Safer trick-or-treating

Hope you’re having a safe Halloween! Many residents found creative ways to facilitate no-contact trick-or-treating. Tom sent this candy-chute photo from his White Center porch.

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VOTING: White Center drop-box update, with 1 week to go, and ballot-measure reminders

October 27th, 2020 at 10:33 pm Posted in Election, White Center news | Comments Off on VOTING: White Center drop-box update, with 1 week to go, and ballot-measure reminders

That’s the King County Elections drop box outside White Center Library (1409 SW 107th), where you can take your ballot any time, day or night, until 8 pm next Tuesday (November 3rd). As of first thing this morning, 7,049 ballots had been turned in there. In another measure of local turnout – this one, counting ballots received via both drop boxes and USPS mail – almost half the North Highline Fire District‘s 11,258 registered voters have turned theirs in so far – 5,367. Mentioning the NHFD is relevant since its “benefit charge” is one of the issues on the ballot. Also of note, the Highline Public Schools technology levy, and King County charter amendments including whether to revert the Sheriff’s job to an appointed, rather than elected, position.

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VOTING: Sounders FC VOTE Tour kicks off with White Center stop Tuesday

October 26th, 2020 at 3:47 pm Posted in Election, White Center news | Comments Off on VOTING: Sounders FC VOTE Tour kicks off with White Center stop Tuesday

From Sounders FC:

Tomorrow, Tuesday, October 27, from 8:30-9:30 a.m. PT, former Sounder Brad Evans is visiting the White Center Starbucks Community Store to kick off the Sounders FC VOTE Tour presented by Starbucks. Those stopping by the event can enjoy free coffee samples courtesy of Starbucks while Evans hands out up to 100 high-quality RAVE Foundation soccer balls for youth and takes socially distant selfies with fans. Please note face masks are required.

The Sounders FC VOTE Tour is a three-day event taking place this week to encourage voter turnout and celebrate voting early. Evans is visiting 12 ballot box locations identified by King County Elections as having historically lower turnout in King County. At each location, Evans will distribute “VOTED” stickers and offer the opportunity for fans to take socially distant selfies.

As you likely know, Starbucks is at 16th SW/SW 100th.

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HALLOWEEN: Spooky Town on Saturday @ Steve Cox Memorial Park

October 22nd, 2020 at 5:31 pm Posted in Fun, Steve Cox Memorial Park, White Center news | Comments Off on HALLOWEEN: Spooky Town on Saturday @ Steve Cox Memorial Park

As mentioned at last week’s North Highline Town Hall, a special Halloween event is coming up at Steve Cox Memorial Park – this weekend:

Join the White Center Teen Program for some Halloween fun!

Saturday, Oct 24
2 – 5 pm
Steve Cox Memorial Park

Families are welcome to drive or walk through the park to pick up goodie bags packed with face masks, DIY arts and crafts projects, official Spooky Town slime, candy, prizes and even pumpkins (while supplies last). Don’t miss the “Pumpkin Patch Maze” on the outdoor basketball court, a Dragon Eye hunt on the multipurpose field, the I Spy Spooky Town Adventure in the windows of the Log Cabin, and a step and repeat photo opportunity on the Log Cabin steps.

Please enjoy this event responsibly by:

Keeping it moving
Wearing a face covering
Staying six feet apart
See you on Saturday!

Parks also announced the installation of “a second set of two Portland Loo-style restrooms near the play area at the park. We’re almost done with construction – one part of the new sidewalk will remain closed until we install a handrail (currently on order). The whole area should be open by late October.”

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WEDNESDAY: Public hearing on King County budget proposal

October 20th, 2020 at 9:27 pm Posted in King County, White Center news | Comments Off on WEDNESDAY: Public hearing on King County budget proposal

Got something to say about the proposed King County budget for next year? Wednesday night is your chance to say it. 6-8 pm online, there’ll be a public hearing. This page has information on how to participate.

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CRIME WATCH: Helicopter search; stolen car

October 19th, 2020 at 8:09 pm Posted in Crime, Helicopter, King County Sheriff's Office, White Center news | 1 Comment »

Two notes tonight:

HELICOPTER: If you noticed Guardian One circling north White Center for a while earlier this evening – we didn’t know what that as about until we got a tip about a sizable response in the O’Reilly Auto Parts lot at 17th/Roxbury. There, we were able to talk briefly to a King County Sheriff’s Office sergeant; he told us they’re looking for a “fugitive” but would not elaborate further, aside from confirming that the helicopter presence was related. We’ll update if we find out more. (Added 9:10 pm: KCSO spokesperson Sgt. Ryan Abbott says the person they were seeking is “a homicide suspect wanted out of Seattle.”)

STOLEN CAR: Reported by Byron:

Our red 2007 Honda Civic 4-door, license plate 867WSD, was stolen from our driveway. Sometime between 9pm last night and 11:15 am this morning. (10600 block of) 27th Ave. SW. There’s a car seat in the back and a brand new Yakima rack and kayak carrier on the roof.

If you see it, call 911.

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County government’s annual check-in, plus Hub project preview: What happened @ 2020 North Highline Town Hall

October 18th, 2020 at 11:18 am Posted in King County, White Center Community Development Association, White Center news | 1 Comment »

By Tracy Record
White Center Now editor

Usually, the county’s annual Town Hall for unincorporated North Highline fills the community room at Seola Gardens with people.

This pandemic year, that’s still out of the question, so instead, county department heads, managers, and other reps – plus one “partner” agency rep with new info about a future major project – filled a screen Thursday night. Otherwise – the format was much the same, minus pre- and post-presentations mingling.

Department of Local Services director John Taylor emceed. County Councilmember Joe McDermott joined “from my basement office in West Seattle.”

First up: Councilmember McDermott noted that after seven months (original WCN report here), the controversial county-owned quarantine/isolation site in Top Hat had yet to host anyone, but the county’s continuing to keep it ready and available. What about the site’s future? He thinks it can serve “an important role” in the area but insists “the county doesn’t have a plan” – he cited ideas he says he’s heard, from housing to open space. He promises that the county will work with the community in deciding the site’s future.

McDermott also spoke about the budget, on which the County Council is working right now. A highlight: $1.8 million in marijuana-tax revenue is planned to be diverted to Local Services, $450,000 of it for participatory budgeting, the rest for “an urban unincorporated King County investment pool.” And he noted the county has had “four supplemental budgets” to deal with COVID response.

He fielded a question about the scooter-sharing program launched two months ago, noting it’s a 1-year pilot project. The program, with scooters from two companies, started in mid-August. Any extension would be up to the County Council. “I’m optimistic about the experiment and hearing from White Center about their experiences.”

McDermott also was asked about the status of the proposed fireworks ban. “The legislation I introduced to ban them in unincorporated King County would mirror most cities … a year ago on 4th of July, we had a tragic death of a North Highline resident because of fireworks,” and that’s why he worked on a ban. It’s been delayed by everyone working remotely – he hopes to get the ban enacted before year’s end, he said, but since it can’t go into effect until a year after passage (that’s a state mandate), even if he does, the ban wouldn’t cover next 4th of July.

Another question: What about a space for the LGBTQ+ community in White Center? McDermott said that’s a great addition to the community needs list and also something that could be discussed in the context of the Sub-Area Plan. (Explained later in the meeting, here’s what the needs list is about:)

The North Highline Subarea Plan is expected to go to the council late next year and be adopted in 2022, McDermott said.

Elections director Julie Wise made the next presentation, saying they’re challenging voters to break 90 percent turnout – you should get your ballot no later than Monday. She said they’re confident the ballots will get to everyone within the 5-day post-mailing window. Ballot drop boxes are open – 73 of them around the coumty, each weighing half a ton – the local drop box is outside White Center Library. “We will have staff emptying those drop boxes every single day.” Before your ballot arrives, get ready by reading the voter pamphlet (all the candidate and measure info is online too). If you’re going to return your ballot via a drop box, please do it BEFORE Election Day, Wise implored. Any questions? You can call 206-296-VOTE. “Vote early, vote early, vote early,” she implored.

Next: Assessor John Wilson explained ways people can reach his office:

He said they’ve received 9,000 applications for tax exemptions this year and they have a backlog – if you are waiting and need a deferral for the second-half property tax payment, to January 31st, apply by next Monday (October 19th).

Regarding property values, COVID has not had a significant effect on residential values; they’re still watching to see how the West Seattle Bridge closure will affect area values. Values have gone down a bit in “near-in” areas like downtown, West Seattle, White Center, 1 to 5 percent, as a “market correction” more than anything.

Eligibility for the senior tax reduction has been expanded:

Now – a very different picture from residential – the Assessor’s Office wants to hear about impacts on commercial property:

Then, on to law enforcement. From the King County Sheriff’s Office Southwest Precinct, Major Jeffrey Flohr presented. He went through several topics, some of which he discussed at the previous week’s North Highline Unincorporated Area Council meeting (WCN coverage here), plus some general crime prevention/reduction notes:

he gave some light on what happened at 17th and 107th earlier in the day – see our separate report here. He had high praise for White Center Deputy Bill Kennamer, calling him a “rock star” and saying he’s safe from budget cuts. He said two deputies are usually working in the WC area, but they also back up the Skyway area, and vice versa, so a big problem in either area can have up to four deputies on it. Peter Truong continues working as a community deputy.

Maj. Flohr also mentioned that online reporting is back (for non-emergencies) and is available in more than 10 languages.

The camera test program will be “out of this precinct” and it’ll likely start in November/December, as he detailed at the NHUAC meeting.

A question answered by Major Flohr: Noise from modified vehicles – said the attendee, “it’s not a victimless crime … my family and others pay the price for the decision not to address this crime.” The attendee wonders what’s being done about it. Maj. Flohr said deputies are encouraged to go after that kind of violation when they see, or hear about it.

Another question: What funding will replace the marijuana-tax money that’s being moved? Nothing – but, he said, it won’t affect the patroling availability in WC. Councilmember McDermott said the pandemic recession is causing cuts in various county departments but this isn’t an additional cut – service levels will be maintained.

Also: What do you do when you think you hear gunshots? Call 911. That will help them triangulate where it might have happened. DON’T call the non-emergency line – that won’t.

Aaron Garcia of the White Center Community Development Association provided an update too, mostly focused on “The Hub,” the project long in the works at 8th/108th, where the White Center Food Bank and Mary’s Place shelter are now. (Here’s his full slide deck.) Of the agency overall, Garcia explained, “We wear many hats .. I like to explain the CDA as four buckets of support … family development …economic development … community building … youth leadership development (like) White Center to White House …” Since the pandemic began, they’ve distributed more than half a million dollars to community members. He showed a rendering of the project at 8th/108th:

He said a Native architect is leading the project. Garcia also showed the principles guiding the project, dubbed the White Center Hub, and its environmental context:

“We have to be sure we’re being good environmental stewards of the land,” he said, ensuring that they preserve trees on the site, for example, and ‘actually centering everything around that Madrone tree in the middle,” with a recognition of the “seven generations” Indigenous concept. “We’re trying to … ensure this will be one of the first Net Zero affordable-housing projects.” Another preview:

WCCDA, Southwest Youth and Family Services, the YES Foundation, Be:Seattle will all be partnering at “The Hub.”

Back to county staff:

Susie Levy provided a COVID-19 response update. Nearest testing sites: Tukwila and West Seattle (Southwest Athletic Complex). Rates are rising across the county, 92 of 100,000 recently, almost four times the rate they’re hoping for, and the North Highline rate is about 200 per 100.000. She discussed the racial inequities of how COVID-19 affects areas. “We’re committed to implementing a racially equitable response to this crisis.” Levy also touted the King County health services available in the area.

Next, Dwight Dively provided a budget primer, since the County Council is in the thick of budget review right now.

One key point – outside assistance for COVID relief currently ends at year’s end, and if more doesn’t come through, that’s going to put an end to many things. While the pandemic has meant a decline in demand for some things like transit, there’s been increased demand for other things, like health services. He also spotlighted the anti-racism focus of the budget. If you have budget input, get it to Councilmember McDermott!

First question after Dively’s presentation: What’s up with the West Seattle Bridge and its impacts on White Center? McDermott fielded that. He mentioned that the City of Seattle’s been focusing its mitigation efforts on its own area but he’d be glad to surface concerns – get him details.

Second: White Center needs more sidewalks.How can walking be made safer? Dively said that’s the kind of thing that the money earmarked for “capital investment in the unincorporated area” could be used for. McDermott mentioned various transportation-funding challenges.

So “why is the county intent on increasing density in North Highline” if it can’t cover the needs? Taylor said the county’s Growth Management Act didn’t contemplate urban unincorporated areas and ways to equitably share tax revenue to cover their needs. Taylor also noted that a new roads director has just been hired and one of her attributes is a “deep knowledge” of funding, as they work on ways to get needs covered.

Roads Division: Lydia Reynolds-Jones mentioned the 8th/102nd roundabout, road signs helping people understand how to use it:

She also had some stats – WC has 3 percent of the unincorporated area’s total road mileage.

They’re also working on an ADA plan for the entire county. There’ll be a public comment period for the draft plan starting in December. And she showed a list of projects under way now, plus some miscellaneous stats:

Attendee question: Are sandbags available? Yes, Renton’s the closest site – more info here.

From the permitting division, Jim Chen explained everything can be done online.

Department of Community and Human ServicesMark Ellerbrook – the county’s second largest department “by budget” – had more to say about the quarantine/isolation facilities – if you need to isolate or quarantine and can’t safely do it at home, call!

If you need rent assistance, here’s the program for you:

And he noted the two Anti-Displacement Workshops coming up for North Highline and Skyway-West Hill, October 17th (this Saturday) and November 7th – find out about them here.

Question for him – besides a workshop, what strategies are they pursuing to fight displacement? Discussing strategies like Community Land Trusts and inclusionary zoning – where a project has to include a certain amount of affordable housing 0 are strategies that’ll be discussed at the workshop, he replied.

He also was asked during the meeting: What about the fair-housing assessment? It’s not ready yet, he said.

Then came an emergency preparedness presentation by Michelle Chatterton. She recommended hazardready.org, signing up for Alert King County as well as flood alerts. To sign up for Alert KC, text ALERTKC to 99411:

DNRP deputy director Mo McBroom reviewed environmental efforts.

She also talked about Parks projects – the 5-acre site we featured earlier this year; improvements for the White Center Natural Area (a pathway) and at Steve Cox Memorial Park, basketball-court improvements plus isntallation of two Portland Loos, Plus, she said there’ll be a “Spooky Town Hall” event at Steve Cox on October 24th. And she had some resource links:

Taylor concluded with a fervent wish that the Town Hall will be back to an in-person event next year.

P.S. See all the county slides from the meeting here.

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CRIME WATCH: About the 17th SW/SW 107th SWAT raid

October 15th, 2020 at 8:09 pm Posted in Crime, White Center news | Comments Off on CRIME WATCH: About the 17th SW/SW 107th SWAT raid

Thanks for all the tips. We got to this scene at 17th SW and SW 107th, just west of the mini-mart, just as the SWAT operation was wrapping up. Some research revealed that it wasn’t a King County Sheriff’s Office operation – it was led by Renton PD. They weren’t able to provide us information immediately – but we just got some from KCSO’s Major Jeffrey Flohr, speaking at the North Highline Town Hall that we’re covering right now. He said the operation was indeed in partnership with Renton PD – it started with officers pulling over a car last night and finding 10 pounds of meth, leading to warrants being served today, including this one.

Maj. Flohr said several people were taken into custody today at locations including this one, and that drugs and money were seized.

We’re hoping for additional info from Renton PD tomorrow.

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Early-morning fire at vacant house on 16th SW

October 15th, 2020 at 10:25 am Posted in Fire, White Center news | Comments Off on Early-morning fire at vacant house on 16th SW

Big callout early this morning for a fire on 16th SW, just south of the gutted site that was Yarington’s Funeral Home. This time, the fire was in a vacant house.

Firefighters at the scene told us no one was hurt, and damage was limited to the back side of the house. We’ll be following up on the cause.

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